Google Helpful Content Update rolled out in German-speaking region: What are the impacts?

Daniel Niedermayer

Chief Sales Officer, Retresco


Google’s Helpful Content Update, which originally launched in August 2022, has now been rolled out in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As part of this update, content that is relevant and helpful for users will be ranked higher in the German-speaking world. Lower-quality text or content that is identical or very similar, on the other hand, is positioned less prominently in the Google ranking. Increasing use of GPT-3, ChatGPT and similar programs that automatically generate website content means that many companies run the risk of losing online visibility – and, consequently, losing reach.

Generally speaking, the shifts in the search engine rankings since the rollout of the Google Helpful Content Update in the German-speaking world have been minor. The pages with content that gets penalised in the rankings are usually obvious spam content pages that contain duplicate content, use article spinning or offer the same information and services multiple times on different domains.

Impact on text automation with ChatGPT

Growing numbers of companies are relying on text automation using large language models such as GPT-3 or ChatGPT, and they are rightly wondering what impact the Google Helpful Content Update and future Google strategies for combating spam will have on these technologies. The fact is that Google attempts to specifically reward content that was written by humans, for humans – content that provides informative added value and a user-friendly customer journey. Content that is more generic and less tailored to a target group, on the other hand, will be ranked as less relevant by the search engine.

At the end of the day, companies that are evaluating potential text automation technologies or are already using them should carefully consider which approach they want to take – because not all text automation processes are the same. Whilst solutions like ChatGPT might seem like practical time-savers at first glance, their big disadvantage is that they do not create much original content. This holds particularly true in cases where the objective is to generate product and category descriptions on a broad scale for digital commerce purposes and to make the text for each description different enough for Google’s search algorithm.

Additionally, the content generated is not immune to errors, which is why human quality assurance is still indispensable. If content, SEO and marketing teams blindly rely on this type of text automation process, companies run the risk of discovering that their own content is indistinguishable from content published by other companies working with the same tool. With ChatGPT, GPT-3 and similar systems, brand experiences and tonality can be easily lost. Ultimately, these companies are putting an important USP at risk – which simultaneously increases the danger of their content being penalised by the Google Helpful Content Update.

Large Scale Content Automation (LSCA) – easily scalable text automation in digital commerce

But alternatives are available. With ‘Large Scale Content Automation’ (LSCA), Retresco gives companies access to a combined generative AI solution that uses data-driven text models for quick and easy text-generation processes. It also taps into the opportunities and creativity offered by large language models – making it possible for companies to use dynamic and static content based on end-to-end innovations (Hybrid NLG). This seamlessly integrated strategy gives users the best of both worlds: they can capitalize on the advantages offered by large language models like GPT-3 and benefit from the opportunity to scale their production of web, product and SEO copy to their needs, as content workflows only need to be set up once. The result is a significant boost in efficiency in digital commerce (e-commerce, retail, industry and B2B).

Above all, however, copy generated using the LSCA approach is qualitatively indistinguishable from content written by human beings, and it always maintains the appropriate corporate language. Since Google also shouldn’t distinguish between machine-generated content and content written by humans in future – as long as the content offers readers added value and is of high quality – LSCA is the ideal solution for companies that want to use text automation and still perform well in the Google ranking. The human intention behind the search is the focus of text automation; everything revolves around the quality and variation of the copy. A cutting-edge text automation solution makes these Google requirements easy to meet.

If you have questions or would like further information about the Google Helpful Content Update or Large Scale Content Automation, we would be happy to help. Feel free to get in touch with us – our experts are here for you!

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